Why does a child walk on tiptoes: what is the reason, what to do with it and how to wean it

 We will tell you in what cases such movement is considered the norm and what kind of shoes are needed to wean a child from walking on toes.


Why does a child walk on tiptoes: what is the reason, what to do with it and how to wean it

If you notice that your child stands on tiptoes not only when he wants to reach for something, but does it all the time and does not even consider the possibility of standing on his full foot, do not jump to conclusions. 


In this article, we will tell you why babies of different ages, starting from 1.5 years old, walk on tiptoes, how to react to it and what to do about it.


1. A child under 3 years old walks on tiptoes: reasons

If your baby is from 1 to 3 years old, then episodic walking on toes is absolutely normal, because the baby is just getting acquainted with walking skills and literally probing his capabilities. Parents, in this case, do not need to worry.


At this age, the main reason for walking on tiptoes is uneven tension in the leg muscles (muscular dystonia). 


However, this is not the only moment that makes a baby up to 3 years old stand on his toes. 


Also, a similar reaction can be caused by: 


  • Too frequent stay of the crumbs in the walker

The child gets used to the fact that in order to start moving, he just needs to push off the floor with his fingers. After, when he is already learning to do without a walker, this skill begins to remind of himself


  • Hyperactivity

Highly active children often tiptoe. This is because an active child is always in tension and excitement. From an overabundance of emotions, he literally starts running on tiptoes. 


  • Curiosity

When we hear the expression “stand on tiptoes”, it represents how someone who stands on their toes wants to consider an object that is out of his line of sight - too high or behind some obstacle.


To satisfy your curiosity, you literally need to "grow up" a little. Children think the same way when they stand on their toes. In this way, they want to demonstrate their desire to grow. 


  • Imitation of adults

This reason does not lie on the surface, like the previous one, but it has no less influence on the child's psyche. The kid can see enough, for example, at a mother who walks in heels, and begin to imitate her. Also, the child may begin to repeat after the dancers whom he may have seen on TV. 

Despite their small age, children under 3 years old perfectly capture beauty and already form their own idea of ​​it. Therefore, anyone can become a guide in this situation. The main thing is that this person is in heels. 


  • Cerebral palsy

In this case, walking on tiptoes will be accompanied by other symptoms of cerebral palsy (cerebral palsy). In particular, the baby will have a strong lag in physical development. In addition, with cerebral palsy, the child will not blink at a loud sound, sit at 7 months, and at 1 year will not begin to make the first attempts to pronounce a syllable.


His movements will be either slowed down, or, conversely, sharp and convulsive. Sometimes cerebral palsy is accompanied by impaired vision, hearing, and strabismus. Parents need to consider all these accompanying facts and not jump to conclusions.


  • Birth injury

A birth injury can provoke a child to walk on tiptoe, but this is an unlikely story, as this cause is identified and treated before the child tries to learn to walk. Provided that at first the mother was seen by a doctor during pregnancy, and then she came for an examination with the newborn. 

  • Pyramidal insufficiency
This is the name for the malfunction of that part of the nervous system that is responsible for the movement of the body. With this pathology, there are also other symptoms. So, at 2-3 months, the chin begins to tremble in the baby, tremors of the hands appear. In addition, pyramidal insufficiency is accompanied by hesitant hand movements and constant tightening of the toes. Often the cause of the disease is a birth injury to the spine.

  • Psychological problems
If screams are often heard in your family and quarrels occur, then, again, there is no need to make allowances for the child's age - supposedly he does not understand anything. He understands everything and reacts to it as best he can. For example, he expresses his inner discomfort by walking on his toes. 


2. A child from 4 years old walks on tiptoes: reasons


If the baby is 3-4 years old or more, then often the main "stumbling block" of tiptoeing is some kind of neurological disease. Therefore, at this age, you should not postpone a visit to a specialist. 

Important!If the crumb can stand on the whole foot without any problems, then most likely it does not have any deviations. If this happens with difficulty, specialist help is required.
In case of any doubts, mothers and fathers should not diagnose the child themselves. Only a specialist will be able to tell exactly why your baby walks on tiptoe . 

Quite often there is no reason for concern, since at this age the same harmless reasons remain as at 3 years old:

  • striving to look taller;
  • imitation of a mother or some kind of screen model;
  • an attempt to draw attention to your person;
  • desire to get something high.

Once again, we note that all this is absolutely normal. In the absence of serious reasons, parents need to exhale and let the child calmly outgrow this period. However, you still need to control the process. 

Speak and show how to step on your feet correctly. Otherwise, constant walking on tiptoes can lead to poor posture, back problems and / or clubfoot. 

3. When should you see a doctor?

Highlighted several points that parents can decide on the decision to take their child to the doctor. So, make an appointment if: 

  1. The child walks on tiptoes most of the time; 
  2. when feeling with your fingers, you feel that the baby has stiff muscles of the lower leg; 
  3. the child is not coordinated and stumbles constantly;
  4. the son or daughter shows signs of delayed development of motor skills;
  5. The doctor will help to understand the problem - he will check the baby for cerebral palsy and other serious problems.

In addition, a specialist may advise you to contact a speech therapist, because delayed speech development is often associated with tiptoeing. Not everyone knows about this.

4. Treatment

Treatment will vary from case to case. The tactics are selected taking into account the cause of the problem. If this is muscular dystonia, the doctor will recommend more physical activity. 

Namely, the following exercises: 

  • walking on all fours;
  • walking barefoot;
  • walking on soft surfaces;
  • goose step;
  • walking in a semi-squat;
  • jumping;
  • walking on the heels, on the outside and inside of the foot;
  • various types of crawling and climbing.

Swimming and active games are also useful.

The main question that adults should ask when they want to help their toddler cope with tiptoeing is, "What is the reason?" Only after establishing the cause can one proceed to active or not very actions.  Other types of treatment may be prescribed depending on the causes of the problem:

  • physiotherapy;
  • paraffin boots (it is important to remember that this procedure is contraindicated in diabetes mellitus and certain heart diseases);
  • wearing orthopedic shoes;
  • electrophoresis.

In certain cases, relaxing herbal baths with chamomile, lavender, and a string will also be useful. It is very important not to self-medicate, but to contact a specialist who will prescribe a specific therapy...

5. Exercise at home

Most of the physical therapy exercises that your doctor prescribes can be done at home. And this is an absolute plus, because the baby will be comfortable, and, given that almost all exercises are exciting and age-oriented, it is also fun. 

All physical activity initially, regardless of the degree of activity, is aimed at stretching the muscles of the lower leg in order to strengthen and strengthen the front of the legs. Activities like these can help your child increase the range of motion and stability of the ankles. 


Stretching the calf muscles is the first step. After that, it is important that you and your child do exercises that use the stretched muscles.


6. Massage

Preventive massage sessions can be started when the newborn is 2 months old. In the context of our topic, massage is a key pillar of physical activity. In combination with other treatment methods prescribed by a doctor, massage will perfectly cope with this problem. 


Ideally, if it is done by a specialist, but if this is not possible, then parents can independently massage the child's body, having previously consulted with a pediatric masseur or chiropractor. 


Types of basic massage movements: 


  • Drawing "eights" on the child's foot;
  • warming up the calf muscles with the thumb and forefinger;
  • light stroking;
  • flexion / extension of the foot;
  • not strong tapping on the foot with the back of the hand;
  • shaking the foot, bending it forward;
  • massaging each finger

7. Footwear 

Separately, we note the importance of purchasing the right shoes. 


  • Firstly, children's shoes in our case should be on a rigid sole and with a comfortable last;
  • secondly, if you know for sure that your baby walks on tiptoe solely because he does not like to stand on his full foot, then "bribe" him. For example, buy shoes with “squeaky” or iridescent heels that demonstrate their function when you press hard on them. 

Parents need to carefully monitor the moment when their baby begins to take the first steps. This is the only way they can catch unwanted moments, in particular, tiptoeing. 

At an early age, therapeutic exercises and massage (in the absence of serious diseases) can completely solve the problem, in advanced cases, the help of a specialist will be required.

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